Confectionery is a set of food items that are rich in sugar; modern usage may include substances rich in artificial sweeteners as well. Different dialects of English also use regional terms for confections:
- In Britain, Ireland and some Commonwealth countries, "sweets", or "sweeties", particularly in Scotland (sweeties resembles the Scottish Gaelic word suiteis in both pronunciation and meaning) and among children. In some parts of England, spogs, spice and goodies are terms used, alongside sweets, to denote confectionery.
- In Australia and New Zealand, "lollies".
- In North America, "candy" - although this term can also refer to a specific range of confectionery and does not include some items called confectionery (e.g. pastry) (See below and the separate article on candy.) "Sweets" is used on occasion, as well as "treat".
Confectionery items include sweets, lollipops, candy bars, chocolate, Cotton candy, and other sweet items of snack food. The term does not generally apply to cakes, biscuits, or puddings which require cutlery to consume, although exceptions such as petits fours or meringues exist. Speakers of American English do not refer to these items as "candy." See candy making for the stages of sugar-cooking.
American English classifies many confections as candy. Some of the categories and types of candy include:
- Hard candy: Based on sugars cooked to the hard-crack stage, including suckers (known as boiled sweets in British English), lollipops, jawbreakers (or gobstoppers), lemon drops, peppermint drops and disks, candy canes, rock candy, etc. These also include types often mixed with nuts such as brittle.
- Fudge: A confection of milk and sugar boiled to the soft-ball stage. In the US, it tends to be chocolate-flavored.
- Toffee (or Taffy): Based on sugars cooked to the soft-ball stage and then pulled to create an elastic texture. In British English, toffee refers to a harder substance also made from cooked sugars.
- Swiss Milk Tablet. A crumbly milk-based soft candy, based on sugars cooked to the soft-ball stage. Comes in several forms, such as wafers and heart shapes.
- Liquorice: Containing extract of the liquorice root. Chewier and more resilient than gum/gelatin candies, but still designed for swallowing. For example, Liquorice allsorts.
- Chocolates: Used in the plural, usually referring to small balled centers covered with chocolate to create bite-sized confectionery. People who create chocolates are called chocolatiers, and they create their confections with couverture chocolate. A chocolate maker, on the other hand, is the person who physically creates the couverture from cacao beans and other ingredients.
- Kopiko: A coffee flavoured sweet made in Asia.
- Gum/Gelatin candies: Based on gelatins, including gum drops, jujubes, Lokum / Turkish Delight, jelly beans, cola bottles gummies, etc.
- Marshmallow: "Peeps" (a trade name), circus peanuts, fluffy puff, etc.
- Marzipan: An almond-based confection, doughy in consistency, served in several different ways. It is often formed into shapes mimicking (for example) fruits or animals. Alternatively, marzipan may be flavoured, normally with spirits such as Kirsch or Rum, and divided into small bite-sized pieces; these flavoured marzipans are generally served coated in chocolate to prevent the alcohol from evaporating, and are very common in northern Europe. Marzipan is also used in cake decoration. Its lower-priced version is called Persipan.
- Divinity: A nougat-like confectionery based on egg whites with chopped nuts.
Not all confections equate to "candy" in the American English sense. Non-candy confections include:
- Pastry: A baked confection whose dough is rich in butter, which was dispersed through the pastry prior to baking, resulting in a light, flaky texture; see also pie and tart.
- Chewing gum: Uniquely made to be chewed, not swallowed. However, some people believe that at least some types of chewing gum, such as certain bubble gums, are indeed candy.
- Ice cream: Frozen flavoured cream.
- Halvah: Confectionery based on tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds.
- Alfajor: a traditional South American cookie typically consisting of two round sweet biscuits joined together with a sweet jam, generally dulce de leche (milk jam).
- Dragée - Coated almonds and other types of coated candy.
- Sweets: A History of Candy, Tim Richardson, Bloomsbury, New York, 2002, hardcover, 392 pages, ISBN 1-58234-229-6
- A Treatise on the Art of Boiling Sugar, Henry Weatherley, London, 1864 (generally found in an American reprint by Henry Carey Baird & Co., Philadelphia, 1903)
sweets in Aragonese: Lamín
sweets in Asturian: Llambionada
sweets in Catalan: Llaminadura
sweets in Danish: Konfekt
sweets in German: Süßware
sweets in Spanish: Golosina
sweets in Esperanto: Dolĉaĵo
sweets in French: Confiserie
sweets in Korean: 과자
sweets in Hebrew: ממתק
sweets in Latin: Bellaria
sweets in Hungarian: Édesség
sweets in Japanese: 菓子
sweets in Polish: Słodycze
sweets in Portuguese: Doçaria
sweets in Russian: Кондитерская промышленность
sweets in Slovenian: Slaščica
sweets in Swedish: Konfekt
sweets in Thai: ขนม
sweets in Chinese: 糖果糕點